The Empress Marija Fjodorovna (1847-1928) was the wife of Tzar Alexander III (1845-1894) and the mother of the last Tzar Nikolaj II (1868-1918). She was born as a Danish princess - a daughter of the King Christian IX (1818-1906) and Luise (1817-1898). Her first names in Denmark were Maria Sophia Frederica Dagmar, but she was usually called Princess Dagmar. In Russia she converted to the Greek Orthodox Church and maintained only the first name Maria. At the same moment she also obtained the patronymic Fjodorovna that was not so near to the first name of her father, at least to the main name; quite probably he had several first names.
This was a very important rule that a future European monarch had to marry a person of a ruling family, otherwise he lost his rights to the throne. In this way all the monarchs of Europe gradually became relatives. So a brother of Marija Fjodorovna became the King of Greece Georg I, another brother was the King of Denmark Frederic VIII. Her sister married the future king of Great Britain and Ireland Edward VII. So her son - the future king George V was a cousin of Tzar Nikolaj II, a son of Marija Fjodorovna. Speaking about other relatives of Russian Tzars, the German Kaiser Willhelm II was a cousin of Alexander III, the husband of Marija Fjodorovna.
Marija Fjodorovna outlived her son Nikolaj I, the Tzar, her other son and her grandchildren, who were killed by Bolsheviks.
The genealogies of kings families are well studied and are not much relevant to this Site. More important could be the activities that Marija Fjodorovna was responsible for in the Empire. It was a long tradition that the wives or the mothers of the ruling Emperor had in their hands all charity in the Empire. This tradition began from the great grandmother of Alexander III, who was a German Princess, but after marriage with the future Tzar Pavel I also became Marija Fjodorovna .
In the Riga address book of 1915 all official organization are grouped by the Ministries they belonged to. The Department of Empress Marija was at the level of Ministry at least in this address book. This Department had institutions responsible for the orphan houses of Empress Marija, for the fight against children mortality, and for the care of soldiers widows and their orphans. From other sources it is known that Marija Fjodorovna supported the care and the education of disabled persons - deaf and blind. For example, she organized collecting of donations in churches for appropriate asylums. A Priest in a church was not allowed to start collecting any donations on his own will, it was possible by an order of the Tzar, you know. I do not risk asserting something definitive about the success of all these activities, but the people tried to do their best to solve problems or at least to identify them. In any case, all above mentioned categories of humans are important from genealogical point of view, and it is very difficult to study them.
I hope I once shall have more information about above mentioned organizations and about the people they cared of. You may consider this Page as an introduction to the future Pages of this kind.
The Empress Marija Fjodorovna was photographed, and one could buy her photographs in the shops of the Empire. This is a photograph of this kind. I think that the photograph was taken sometime in the 1880s, when the Empress was young, but the present copy, that I have bought nowadays, was initially sold in 1904, which is easy to say from the information about the photographer's shop printed on the backside and from the inscription in German on the backside that informs that somebody was introduced to the Empress Marija Fjodorovna on April 14, 1904, 11.00 a.m.
At least this was our (my and A.Skuja's) understanding of this inscription. We read it as "Vor Kaiserin Maria Fiodrowna d. 14/1904 April 11 Uhr morgens vorgestellt worden" and supposed that the word vorgestellt was written on the card with an error as vorgesellt.
Nothing is known who in fact was introduced, but I guess he or she was one of German nobility engaged in the charity activities in the Baltic provinces.
© Bruno Martuzāns. 1995-2002